Looking back and moving forward

Well,  the holiday decorations have come down and the new year is underway.

In the cat cottage we saw a lot of happy adoptions in 2016 and can look back and celebrate our many successes with a smile. . . .

from finding homes for some of our more reserved, “shy” cats :

  Chrissy, Heidi and Cheddar….

Cheddar, now Gracie, hardly took any time to come out of her shell.  Within two weeks, she was spending short spurts of time on Jane’s lap and now spends at least an hour at a time curled up on a lap multiple times per day.  She even wandered into the dining room on New Year’s to greet company and did some head-butting of stranger’s hands!  Jane and James had expected her to take longer to warm up, but are thrilled that she’s coming around to them so quickly.  She doesn’t have access to the entire house yet, but is comfortable in their bedroom, living room, and dining room for the time being.  They just love her!

-Boots and Ticker are now Scout (Chrissy) and Honey (Heidi).  At first the girls were so scared it was hard to give them names based on personality, so we went with “family” names.  But now, oh boy, their personalities have emerged. Scout has to explore everything with Honey right behind her.  Actually, Scout is my first cat to tightrope walk across the drapery rods.  And the top of the 55″ tv.  Honey is very sweet, likes her treats, and was the first to give me head butts and whisker kisses. And has gorgeous honey colored eyes.

to saying a fond farewell to some of our friends that decided they  wanted to hang around for just a while:

Elizabeth, Dillon,  & Veronica……

Here’s a photo update on Elizabeth, now Bells, who also happens to be FIV+ , from her new owners with an awesome caption- Can we clone these guys a million times over!!

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Dillon:    He warmed up to Tom and Brittany so fast, they didn’t even know what to do with it.  He greets them happily when they get home from work and is playful, snuggly, and extra lovable!  He has not swatted or hissed at them once.  He did go through a short period of attempting to eat the popcorn ceiling, so they had to take down a high shelf, but he has otherwise been the picture perfect kitty companion!  He is even starting to come out of the bedroom to stare at company from a distance when they do have friends over!  J I’d say that’s pretty impressive for our skeptical guy.  They absolutely adore Mr. Dillon and can’t believe how easy he’s been, given his history of being somewhat difficult.  I guess he just needed to find his people!

Hi Lady!!! 6 months wow!! Miss V is just fabulous! We are currently snuggled up watching The Grinch. Photo to follow.  She most definitely is beyond spoiled. She totally rules the house and knows it. She hasn’t had any health issues at all and we’re now comfortable enough to trim nails (as long as there are treats nearby to bribe). She really is the perfect cat! I’m so lucky! 

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Fondly remembering our kitties that were extra special:

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Mason:

….Wow, 6 months already.  We kinda feel like he has been here forever.  He loves the fireplace and when it is going…he uses his ramp a lot but is super clever on how he gets around.  I am often surprised when I come home, which room he is in and on what he is lounging on.   I think he loves just having places to go.  He eats but believe it or not he does leave food in the bowl.  Both cats share the eating zone and take their turns.  They snuggle when they want too, just like normal cats.  They also snuggle with humans when they feel the need too.    

Monty – who was blind

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Monty is doing very well!
It’s hard to believe he’s only been here 6 months; it feels like he’s been in the family forever.
He and Moira get on well, in fact their beds are together in the living room (they match their beds, naturally)!
He’s still as happy and affectionate as ever and grows more confident in his environment every day. He recently discovered he can jump onto the bathroom sink so that’s a new favorite hangout spot.
He goes for his first vet appointment in a few weeks for a check up as we haven’t had any health issues arise. He eats well and uses the box without problem.
Overall he’s one of the happiest cats I’ve met and he definitely brings us lots of joy.

And the several lucky kitties were able to leave here with siblings -or friends they made at the Sanctuary:

Siblings Clover & Dandelion- Friendship formed at the Sanctuary: Higgins, Tetris & Jupiter…..

Rosie and dad have really bonded. Omar is still doing things on his terms and that’s ok. Higgins loves everyone which includes our family and friends. At feeding time all 3 boys are right at our feet singing up a storm. Too funny.
Wishing you, your family and everyone at the sanctuary a Merry Christmas.

Pikachu and Luna- arrived together and were able to leave again together.

The very lucky kitties who were out the door as fast as they came in:

Molly, Nefertiti, Poppy and Emery…

And so many others that left us this year.

chickpea:

Chickpea is settling in nicely!  We did keep the name Chickpea, as Chris thought it suited him fine.  He and Homeo are very active together and sleep together too.  I do give Homeo a stern talking to once in a while as he teaches Chickpea some bad habits….like climbing on the railing above our living room. Crazy cats!

So far, Chickpea has only pulled two ornaments off the Christmas tree. One was a snowman that he ripped to shreds, thankfully, it wasn’t something I was worried about losing!  I’m really looking forward to Christmas morning and opening presents with the boys. J

Snickers, Snookey, Sprinkle, Barry, Dandelion, Clover, Buttercup, Barry…..

Finally,  one special tribute to our friend Harvey- He arrived at the Sanctuary rescued from the street in terrible condition-

once it was discovered he was in kidney failure we knew he had already arrived at his forever home – his “family” at the Sanctuary kept him loved, comforted and happy until he received his kitty angel wings on December 11th and left us with only his happy memories….

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Looking forward so many new faces have already joined us this year:

Apache, Gum Drop, Juniper, Luther, Charlotte…..

Luther, Lumi, Newton, Freyja……

Already some new friendships are forming:

Lumi – a kitten rescued by our own staff was found orphaned and injured so badly his hind leg needed to be amputated.

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He has now wound up with several step-siblings and one very special friend in Apache -a “mature” kitty that had such severe dental issues he had all of his remaining teeth removed -except for one.

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Of course – a special tribute to the rest of our current guests still waiting:

Albus, Cheetah, Dusty, Tabby, Hazel & Pippi- And looking forward to finding their homes this year!

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
Vincent Van Gogh

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Hello 2017!

 

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GOODBYE 2016!!!

 

Some of you are happy to see 2016 come to an end and some of you are choosing to look back on the year with all of it’s wondrous and fond memories. The dogs can say the same thing, some of them had a remarkable year and some of them are looking forward to the opportunities that 2017 have to offer. Regardless of the group that we may focus on I think it’s safe to admit that 2017 is going to be a great year and we are ready to welcome it with open arms (and paws!). Here at the Sanctuary we always love to take a moment to reminisce over the past year by looking back on the dogs that we have been able to help.  Some of them have left for their happily ever after and some are still gracing our doorways but one thing holds true, both staff and volunteers are delighted to call them “family”. These dogs have created so many smiles and stories through their interactions with those that spend time with them that they have unwittingly sewn an invisible string of love connecting us all. These dogs are the embodiment of love and we are lucky to have them in our lives.

Welcome, 2017 and all of the memories that you have in store for us.

 

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Is that you, 2017?? WELCOME!!!

 

 

 

Thank You Fall 2016 Interns

Interns are an amazing integration to making the Sanctuary work to its full capacity and we enthusiastically welcome their help and expertise! We’ve recently had to say goodbye to our Fall UCONN interns and we want to thank them all for their great work this semester! Not only were they a huge help with the day to day chores but they also played a big role in the progress that many of our dogs have made over the past few months. This progress has ultimately lead to the adoption of a handful of our dogs! They did many field trips with our dogs (who doesn’t like going off and having fun!) and assisted in executing behavioral and training plans. For example, they worked very hard on Gordie’s and Aspen’s training and even took Gordie, Aspen, and Brody to class some weeks. This was a very dedicated group!

We wish them all the luck in the world for their futures in animal care.

Thank you Brittany, Carolyn, Natalia, and Tiffany!!

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Naughty or Nice?

It’s time for the holidays and that means it’s time to check on our kitties to see if they are being naughty or nice this time of year.  So let’s take a peek and see what they’ve been up to….

 

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Why I’ve been sooo Naughty  – of course darlin’

 

Nice of course..that’s all I do  …….now if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to more important things like my nap.

 

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Yes Santa, I have been so sweet and nice!  please fill my stocking with lots of special goodies.

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Did you hear what I said – I was being nice ….so stop looking at me like that!

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Jeez –   guess I was being naughty cause this fit last year.

I’ve been using the scratching post faithfully, playing with the volunteers and even entertaining the other cats with my dancing skills –

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That counts as being good ………right?

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This face ….. naughty???   – no one would ever believe it if she was!

…And the rest of the crew is looking pretty innocent as well.

 

Well – there’s not too many naughty kitties this year,and lots of stockings to fill…. so maybe Santa will be delivering some wishes our way.

On a more serious holiday note, sometimes the helping hand we reach out doesn’t always extend as far as we hope.  A recent case we had involved a cat with extremely serious health issues that had to be euthanized.   The co-worker involved was devastated with that decision and commented “he was the sweetest cat, but no one took the time to love him”.

That brief, simple statement resonated in my mind and brought tears to my eyes -even though I had never even met this cat.  knowing someone loved and cared for him wouldn’t have changed the outcome but would have made a world of difference to him.

So a big thank you to all our volunteers that religiously come out to visit our cats and show them that they are all lovable and somebody cares.

 

'Cats Hug' by Toru Sanogawa: "What greater gift than the love of a cat? Yes indeed! Who can argue with that?!":

Unemployed No More

jessie-090216bWhat, more than anything in the world, makes for a happy German Shepherd?  A job, of course!  And our Jessie was no exception.  Jessie came to us from a local animal control office, where she had been found stray.  She was not spayed, had a touch of frostbite, and worst of all, had a heart worm infection.  We took her in at the sanctuary, knowing that our staff and our volunteers made us well equipped to guide her through the arduous recovery process.

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Once Jessie arrived, she quickly won everyone’s hearts with her endless affection and lighthearted demeanor.  And boy, did she love to work.  Like any good herder, she always kept a close eye on her flock, namely the staff and volunteers.  She loved meeting and jessie-041916aworking with the other dogs and made some great friends.  Her most valuable job for us was as Henree House hostess, since she could always be counted on to graciously greet any visitor, even small children, and put on a little show.  She also excelled as a Buddy Project dog, helping at risk teens learn dog training skills.  But I think her favorite job could best be described as “tennis ball herder.”

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While Jessie loved all of these jobs, she was definitely missing the one job every dog aspires to:  life long companion to a person of her own.  That person finally came along this summer.  Tim had a traumatic brain injury that had damaged his short term memory.  He was moving into a new home and, while he had great human caretakers, thjessie-071216aere was one vacancy he needed to fill:  a dog to help him through the rough spots and make his life complete.  And we had just the girl for the job.  Jessie and Tim bonded immediately and after a few visits with her, we knew it was the perfect match.  Jessie is now permanently employed, giving her guy unlimited love and support, and of course, chasing down every tennis ball she can.

 

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Hey…do you have a minute?

It’s important and just a moment of your time will do – one of our Sanctuary guests would like a word with you about a very serious subject.

 

Hi Everyone –

If you don’t already know me, let me introduce myself:

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My name is Sophie.

I’m a cute little Tortie currently living at the Sanctuary.

I love to chill outside, stare out the window, and help our volunteer manager with all of her paperwork.  (Though, to be honest, I like the paper much better when it is crinkled up and on the ground for me to smack.)

 

Anyway, that’s what I wanted to talk about – fun!  And playing.  And how to do it the kitty approved way.

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Now, you might be thinking “Sophie, come on, don’t be silly ….I already know how to play with cats.”

Seriously just hear me out!

There’s some cool facts about kitty brains that I want to share with you to make our play sessions more fun.

The big thing to know is that we like to play because it reminds us of hunting.  When we dive bomb a feather toy, we pretend it’s a real live bird!  So it’s important to move the toys like they are real prey.

 

Ever wonder why cats seem so bored when you just dangle the toy in our face?  We’re thinking that’s gotta be a pretty dumb bird to fly right into our face-and it can be kinda scary too.  If anything, I’ll just swat or bite it just to get it out of the way!  That’s not very fun or challenging for me.

I want to stalk, chase pounce and attack!  If you move the toy like prey that will definitely catch my interest.

Try moving it side to side, have it sneak around corners, have it  move slow like a bird walking on the ground and then zoom – into flight!

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Have it stop from time to time so we can strategize how we are going to catch it and move it AWAY from us so we can chase it.  Of course let us win every one in a while too!  If the toy is flinging so fast without us even being able to touch it our heads will definitely spin.

It’s all about finding that balance and letting us pretend play.  The best part of a play session is getting to capture my feathered foe for a little while.

 

 

 

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I mean sure, it’s fun to have food given to us on silver platters – or in my case, blue treat balls. But when it’s time to play,  give us a challenge!

Incorporate this new knowledge of kitty hunter instincts in your next play session and watch the fun begin.

 

 

Best,

Sophie

Supreme Tortie of Sebastian House

 

 

Black Beauty

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Jessie is the picture of canine grace.  And she has an inner beauty to match.  Attentive and affectionate, she never saw a face that she didn’t want to kiss, and her belly is always available for some rubs.

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Jessie came to us from a local animal control office.  She was sighted running loose in the town in winter and, though it took some time and several attempts, they were able to catch her and bring her in.  Once they had her safe and indoors, they saw what a joyful teddy bear she was.

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Unfortunately, she had a few health care concerns that needed addressing.  She needed to be spayed, her skin and coat were in poor condition, and, worst of all, she had a heartworm infection.  We took her in to the Our Companions Sanctuary and, with a little TLC, she quickly blossomed.

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Now, Jessie is a volunteer and visitor favorite.  With her health concerns behind her, she tears around the play yard fetching tennis balls, and has a great time with her doggie friends, Hera and Brody.  She’s well on the way to her fairy tale ending.

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Buttercups, Dandelions and Clovers

are growing big this spring!   Yes, maybe all over your lawn but, of course we are talking about kittens.

Early in May we took in mom, Blossom, and her three kittens (2 weeks old at the time)

Just a kitten herself (about 9 months old), she was found running the streets as a stray in Hartford- Apparently this girl is a little on the wild side, as she soon wound up  pregnant.  Her rescuer found herself in over her head and reached out for some help.

It was during Blossoms vet visit that they discovered she had a painful abscess on her mammary gland that was ruptured and draining.  However, despite the pain she continued to nurse and care for her kittens.

Now, at almost five weeks old – the kittens are thriving:

And mom is so ready

to return to being a kitten again!  Though she’ll have to stick it out a few more weeks.

A couple of weeks before Blossom arrived, we took in another litter of four boy kittens that were trapped as part of a feral TNR project in Hartford.

They came to us at just about 7-8 weeks and our volunteers have been working hard to turn these “airplane ears”Jupiter,colt,tetris,chickpea 042216a

into friendly kitten ears.   Jupiter, Colt, Tetris and Chickpea have come a long way.

And it’s been quite the ride with these boys but our volunteers have done a great job with them.   Still a little nervous and skittish, but ready for homes of their own.

Piper Update

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We’ve gotten our first report back from Piper’s new home!  She’s doing great and settling in to a much deserved life of love and care after her rough beginning.  Read her whole story here:  https://ourcompanionsblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/piper-the-indestructible/

“Our family is so happy to welcome this little girl into our family. We have re-named her Abby and already she responds to her new name! She joins our cat, Sophie, who really wants nothing to do with her, and two goats, Firefly and Paprika, who are both very curious about her.

She has adapted well to our routine. She has learned to “give paw” and we are working on “stay” with some success. She will soon be going to school to learn even more. In keeping with her recovery from surgery, we take short walks, which are always an adventure since she would love to chase every bird, chipmunk and squirrel she sees.”